The WLC: A Response to the Call for Positive Social Change

Thousands of high school sophomores have already completed their state leadership seminars – many of them conducted virtually as an innovative response to the call for adaptation of HOBY seminars in a world currently experiencing a pandemic-a global crisis-the folds of which have continued to impact our organization as they have other non-profits all over the world. However, it has been so inspiring to witness so many students like our ambassadors come away from their state seminar experience feeling empowered and ready to make positive social change in their communities. 

But how do we as HOBY alumni measure “positive social change?” What’s our KPI or “key performance indicator”? SMART goals teach us that our goals have to be measurable, but with a goal as big as positive social change – where do we begin and how do we measure that progress? HOBY measures positive social change using the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

A Program that Crosses Borders

What are the SDGs? 17 goals were developed by the United Nations to tackle the seemingly insurmountable task of creating a more sustainable future by the year 2030. These goals feel big – they have weight that crosses borders, dives into the depths of the seas, and that reach the highest point of our atmosphere. Regardless, HOBY believes that the greatest power to reach these goals lies within each of you. 

The World Leadership Congress is HOBY’s largest and longest running program. We take on the task of diving deep into the Sustainable Development Goals by exploring Global Citizenship Education and building on the foundation taught at state seminars using the Social Change Model of Leadership. The WLC is a globally attended event and this year, you’ll be able to experience global connection and global citizen education from home. 

The Shift to Virtual

The shift to virtual for many volunteers, alumni, and ambassadors was originally met with a lot of negativity. “How can you connect with people over a video call?”, “How will this program incorporate a global audience when time zones are a thing?”, “How will this feel different than the virtual state seminars?”. All valid questions. But another thing HOBY teaches us is to constantly be in a state of learning, acting, reflecting and innovating. The WLC has pivoted in a big way to still offer students from all across the globe the opportunity to connect with fellow students, mentors, and leaders while also taking on the task of arming themselves with knowledge to be able to effectively tackle these goals by thinking global and acting local. 

I had the absolute pleasure of witnessing 90 high school sophomores from Texas cities explore the SDGs on a small scale. They taught each other about these goals and proposed solutions after just 30 minutes of research. Imagine what 5 days could do? What will you do with 5 days of global exposure and conversation with individuals who have different lived experiences than you? 

Join us for the WLC

The 2020 World Leadership Congress will be held July 27 – 31st and we are inviting our 2020, 2019, and 2018 state seminar ambassadors the opportunity to attend this event at the reduced cost of just $550. At no additional cost, our 2020 WLC ambassadors will be able to earn an elective college credit from George Mason University’s Leadership Topics class while experiencing a unique, empowering, and fun event filled with global showcases, LIVE global and regional programming, independent programming, fun activities, and of course, group time with young leaders just like you from all across the U.S. and world.

The opportunity is unique to this year and is our response to the need for adaptation and innovation in a world experiencing a lot of loss. We hope you’ll answer the call to become Global Citizens and consider enrolling in the WLC this year.

For our 2019 alumni, this is your last year to attend the WLC – and we know your energy will be needed in this virtual HOBY space.

To our 2018 alumni, you’ve lost so much this year, we hope you’ll consider joining the WLC family and expanding your knowledge before entering your first year of college.

And to our 2020 ambassadors – you do have the ability to attend either this year, next year (or both) – but the cost is more than three times higher when we do get the opportunity to meet in person again. Between travel costs, tuition, and the registration fee, attending this year will provide you with an experience equal to that of the in-person event at a fraction of the cost. This reduced rate is specific to the virtual experience and we hope you’ll weigh the benefits of joining us this year.

The world is waiting…will you join us? 

*Need answers to your questions? You can download the Virtual WLC FAQs here. You can also email a member of the WLC’s Global Relations team any time at for more information or help signing up. We’d love to talk more about our program and how you can sign up. If you’re ready to register, grab a parent/guardian and go here

About the Author: Jasmine is a 2007 Texas-Capital Area alumna and 12 year HOBY volunteer. She is currently serving as the Leadership Seminar Chair for HOBY Texas-Capital Area and as the Domestic Recruitment Director for the World Leadership Congress, Global Relations Team. A self-proclaimed career volunteer, Jasmine resides in the beautiful state of Texas and is the mom of two future HOBY ambassadors, David and Emmitt. She enjoys working out (from home these days), creating digital art, and has an unhealthy obsession with cold brew and almond milk creamer. 

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